"Surely, nothing can be more plain or even more trite common sense than the proposition that innovation [...] is at the center of practically all the phenomena, difficulties, and problems of economic life in capitalist society." So wrote the economist Joseph Schumpeter, who is often called the "father of entrepreneurship" or the "father of creative destruction," about innovation as outlined in his book "Business Cycles: Theoretical, Historical, and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process" which was first published in 1939. Innovation held a key role in Schumpeter's thinking which, again in his own words, "is the outstanding fact in the economic history of capitalist society."
"Hidden champions" as a term was first conceptualized and published in a German journal for business administration in 1990 by Hermann Simon, a German business professor and management consultant. The concept refers to highly sucessful companies, often market leaders in their respective fields and not known to a wider public. According to Simon, three criteria must be met in order to be considered a hidden champion; (1) the company either has to be positioned in the top three of the global market or take the top spot on its continent in terms of market share, (2) the company's revenue must not exceed $4 billion, and (3) the company must have a low level of public awareness.
Albeit small in size, Austria, in the heart of Europe, is a country full of diversity and charm. Though it might not first be associated with cutting-edge innovation and technology but rather with classical music and chocolate cake, the Alpine republic has a lot to show for. In 2013, the Australian innovation agency "2thinknow" ranked Vienna as the most innovative city in Europe; on an international level the Austrian capital ranks third behind Boston and New York City.
Today more than half the world's population and two-thirds of Europeans are living in cities or urban areas; the figure for Austria is 64%. The global trend in urbanization is upwards; the process will continue in the future, and the city will become the dominant environment in social and economic terms throughout the world. Europe's cities generate the bulk of our affluence although, at the same time, they face huge economic, ecological, and social challenges.